In a gesture of solidarity and support, US President Joe Biden arrived in Tel Aviv on Wednesday to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, marking the 12th day of the conflict between Israel and the Hamas terror group. Welcomed by Netanyahu at the airport, Biden’s visit comes at a critical juncture, coinciding with the tragic attack on a hospital in Gaza that resulted in the loss of numerous lives.
Departing from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, the President’s impending visit prompted significant security measures in the national capital, with road closures and a surge in deployed security personnel.
John Kirby, the US National Security Council (NSC) coordinator for strategic communications, shared insights into Biden’s objectives during the visit. “When he talks to PM Netanyahu, he’ll be asking some tough questions, as a true friend of Israel. He’s also going to make it clear that we continue to want to see this conflict not expand, not deepen,” Kirby affirmed, underlining the President’s intention to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and ensure the flow of necessary aid.
Highlighting the itinerary, Kirby emphasized the restricted nature of Biden’s engagements, which include a small bilateral meeting with Netanyahu and discussions with families affected by the ongoing violence. “Tomorrow, President Biden’s trip will be confined to Tel Aviv. The first thing he’ll do is meet with Israeli PM Netanyahu in a very small, restricted, bilateral meeting. After that, he will have a chance to meet with some of the Israeli first responders and some of the families who have lost their loved ones,” Kirby elaborated, shedding light on the empathetic approach Biden aims to take during his visit.
The explosion at the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza added another layer of complexity to the situation, prompting Biden to order an investigation into the incident. “He (President Biden) has directed the National Security team to gather as much information and context as possible. We all want to know how this could have happened,” Kirby stated, acknowledging Israel’s denial of involvement and the ongoing effort to discern the facts.
Meanwhile, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) released footage revealing that the explosion resulted from a failed launch by Palestinian Islamic Jihad, contradicting initial speculations of an Israeli airstrike.
This visit follows United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s recent trip to Israel on October 16, reinforcing the country’s commitment to bolstering Israel’s stance as it prepares for a significant military offensive in Gaza. As the conflict continues, President Biden’s visit underscores the gravity of the situation and the commitment of the United States to pursue a peaceful resolution.
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